CHICAGO (June 3, 2021) - About Face Theatre announced today that it is awarding grants to two local LGBTQ+ playwrights to support their creative work. Playwrights Hannah Ii-Epstein (she/her) and BeeBee Cooper Browne (they/them) will each receive $2,000 grant awards for use in their art-making processes. The grants are not tied to the creation of any specific work.
"These two artists have already been writing bold visions into the world and challenging the status quo," said About Face Theatre Artistic Director Megan Carney. "We recognize that the creative process takes many forms and needs to be supported at different stages along the way. Grants like this are vital for supporting important LGBTQ+ voices in the arts community." In addition to the grant money, AFT is making its office and rehearsal spaces available to the recipients for workshops, presentations, and/or writing spaces.
Since its founding in 1995, About Face Theatre has been dedicated to developing new work and supporting LGBTQ+ artists at different stages in their process and careers. To date, About Face has presented 48 world-premiere plays, which have won critical acclaim and major recognitions including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, and 16 Joseph Jefferson Awards. About Face is also nationally-recognized for its educational programs, which combine learning techniques of theatre as a means of activism with a safe space for LGBTQ+ community building. About Face Youth Theatre, now in its 22nd year, provides free theatre training, leadership development, and opportunities for developing and performing in new plays for public audiences. AFT also recently announced its new Green Room Collective, which is a paid mentorship program for early-career LGBTQ+ arts leaders.
The funding for this grant program has been provided by an anonymous donor.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Hannah Ii-Epstein(she/her/hers) , born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, received her MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage at Northwestern University in 2018. She is a creative writer, dramatist, and Co-Artistic Director of Nothing Without a Company.
Hannah is a founding member of BearCat Productions, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, A 50th season writer at Kumu Kahua Theatre, a board member at Aloha Center Chicago, and a member of the Ke Ali`i Victoria Ka`iulani Hawaiian Civic Club and Kula Kupaa O Ka Pakipika halau.
BeeBee Cooper Browne(they/them) is a producer and artistic creator in Chicago whose work explores multimedia protest extravaganzas. They have survived six years in the Chicago non-profit theatre arts community as an administrator, playwright, and producer. BeeBee currently advocates for mental health wellness through a co-created platform of comedy and community, Dee N' Bee, with Dionne Addai. They are also an organizer for Creators Thrift, an emerging artistic community created by and for people who have been intentionally disinvested and ignored by systemic oppression and discrimination.
About Face Theatre
About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond. Learn more at aboutfacetheatre.com .